FINANCE TIP OF THE DAY
Can you afford your loan?!
Know the quantity of loan you can afford. The banks may sanction loan based on your income but you should look at your monthly expenditure and see if you can afford the maximum that banks offer. As a thumb rule, remember not to let your credit exceed 40% of your income!
Have a credit card personality?
When we talk about credit card usage we find different people managing it in a different way. Some people are highly disciplined and never default on their monthly installments and others are so messy that they are always on the top of the defaulter list. Managing finance is a complex task and it’s very easy to fall into a debt trap if you misuse the power of free credit. Credit card provides you the power but it never suggests that this power is unlimited. You have to pay the dues back at the end of the free credit period but somehow the human mind doesn’t listen. To avoid getting into trouble in future it’s advisable to understand your credit personality and choose the credit card which suits you the best. Credit card companies provide credit cards with different features like different interest rate, different reward structure, different credit limits etc. If you understand the way you deal with credit it gets easier to choose the best combination for you. Let’s see what kinds of credit personalities exist and what card they should opt for.
You are just out of college enjoying your first job. You never had surplus money and hence no financial planning was required. You have never used credit previously and find the concept amazing. As expected, you are in a hurry to apply for one.
For beginners it’s advisable not to go for cards with high credit limits. You still do not know how you are going to use your card. Your financial wit has never been tested so better be cautious. This is just the beginning and once you are sure that you can manage your finances well, you can opt for credit cards with a higher limit.
You have been there and done it all. You are great at financial planning and almost everything is in perfect shape. You never default on your monthly payments and never spend beyond your means. Reward offers don’t alter your spending pattern and you plan every move before executing.
For the disciplined the best suited card is one with cash back facility and good reward structure. The reward points should accrue irrespective of the type of purchasing done and can be redeemed at one go. Interest rate on your card doesn’t matter much as you always pay on time.
You love spending and believe that spending is the motivation for earning. You plan things beforehand but don’t mind going overboard at times. You cross your spending limit at times so you don’t make full payments on your credit card.
The most important feature which the carefree should look for in a credit card is the interest rate. As you carry forward the balance your interest expense is going to be high. It’s advisable to choose the card which offers the lowest interest rate. You should also make sure that your card does not have any annual maintenance charges attached to it.
The complete mess
You don’t understand financial management. Almost every time you do not even pay the minimum amount due on your credit card. All the customer care executives of the bank know you by name and are in constant touch with you. You always end up paying heavy interest and late payment charges.
For the messy it is better to use prepaid cards as it will save a great deal of money which you pay in the form of interest and various charges. This will prevent you from spending beyond your means.
The Credit Fearing
You never wanted a credit card in the first place. According to you being in debt is a crime. You applied for the card just because it made your life easy in some scenarios like booking air tickets and overseas purchases. You only swipe it in some kind of emergency and it goes unused at times for months.
The best card which will suit your needs is the one with no annual maintenance charge. You never make late payments and you are not a frequent user so interest rate and reward structure of the card doesn’t matter much for you.
There are a wide variety of credit cards available in the market and it’s not possible to research all of them. The better approach in such a scenario is to research your personality and then research the cards available. While you define your personality you get to know the basic traits your card should have. Once you are sure about the traits the list of cards automatically gets shorter. The best approach is to talk to the bank and discuss with the executive regarding your needs and spending behavior. They will definitely guide you with better options as banks are getting more and more cautious about their relationship with the customer. The existing competition in the market compels them to give better services to their clients. Rather than doing the entire math yourself, put forth some direct questions to them, which will help you make the best decision.